Gita is a leader in the village of Taklung. She is largely responsible for bringing the need for women’s health programs to our attention. Her concern led us directly to engage with GlobalGiving. We are so grateful to you for making the workshops possible. Your generosity has already saved one—perhaps two lives.
In July 2014, Gita sent us this narrative which so vividly demonstrates the importance of these workshops:
“In Taklung a few women understand how important reproductive and sexual health knowledge is. When the doctors and nurses came to teach us, these women made sure to bring all the mother-in-laws and daughter-in laws of our village to the Workshop.
The Workshop proved to us that the normal behavior towards daughter-in-laws needs to improve! It also taught us about the appropriate age to give birth and when to seek medical care during labor. We learned about birth spacing, contraceptives, gender equality, and the adverse effects of child marriage. We discussed the danger of cervical cancer and many other things.
With all the new knowledge we gained from the Workshop, we saved the life of a woman and her baby. This is now an inspiring example for our village!
It was only 2 weeks ago that a daughter-in-law of a Workshop participant went into labor. The labor went on for many, many hours. But luckily the mother-in-law had learned in the Workshop that medical attention is needed when labor pains are prolonged.
We all got together to help and hurried to get the woman to the nearest health post as fast as we could. The roads weren’t paved so we couldn’t use a motor vehicle. In a cloth hammock we carried our sister for 3 to 4 hours to reach Manakamana Poly Clinic. But, when we got there, they told us that the baby’s heart was beating abnormally fast and the mother’s bleeding was unstoppable. They told us to take her to Bharatpur Hospital. Bharatpur is far away, but there is a road, and we got a ride. Once at the hospital, thankfully everything went well: our sister gave birth to a healthy 3.5kg girl!
I thank God every day for this training. Sometimes I wonder, had we not had the Workshops, would we have lost three of our sisters and orphaned their children?
We are very happy that these Workshops are available to us. We are grateful that we won't have to lose our sisters in childbirth because of ignorance. I am very grateful to EDWON and everyone associated with it.”
Gita, ADWAN Board Member, Taklung Village Activist
We join Gita in thanking you, the donors, who made this possible.
On the 18th & 19th of this past June, EDWON hosted the sixth and final Reproductive Health Workshop in the Ghairung & Bungkot region of Gorkha district. From here, all six communities will receive a follow-up refresher training 8 months from the time of their initial Workshop.
Taylor Knoop is an American college student spending a semester in Nepal while volunteering for EDWON. On a visit to Mulpani in Baglung District in August, 2014, she interviewed a young charismatic woman called Pabitra, a beneficiary of the Ambitious Girls Fund (AGF). Taylor describes Pabitra, 24, as “the brightest light in the room.” This is her story:
Pabitra was married off as a 9th grader at the tender age of 17—an all too common situation for rural girls—and soon she gave birth to a daughter. But, against all odds, Pabitra continued with her schooling. She even managed to pass the demanding national standard exam (SLC) at the end of 10th grade—no small feat for a Dalit girl. Pabitra had a burning wish to learn even more, but dared not dream to continue beyond 10th grade.
Mulpani is home to 5 EDWON women’s groups. Pabitra joined the Laligurans Group shortly after her marriage and became an active member. With small, short-term loans, she built a modest vegetable and egg business—while raising her daughter and keeping house.
Through her women’s group, she also heard of EDWON’s Ambitious Girls Fund—a modest stipend to help Dalit girls with post 10th grade education. Grade 11 and 12 offers vocational training or prepares young women for further study.
Since Pabitra is ambitious and practical, she received the AGF stipend and went back to school for 11th and 12th grade. Her studies focused on education. She told Taylor that Nepali was her favorite subject because she “so enjoyed the stories, grammar lessons, and reading—especially poems, songs, and biographies.” All through school she remained active in the women’s group, conducted her business, cared for her daughter, and gave birth to a second child.
Pabitra’s husband was working in Dubai and, following Nepali practice, Pabitra was living with his parents. While traditional in-laws treat the daughter-in-law as a simple servant, Pabitra is lucky with hers: her unusual mother-in-law supports her in her wish to go to school, while offering help with the children.
Pabitra graduated from 12th grade in 2011. She is continuing to learn new skills, namely sewing and computer skills, in the hopes of one day becoming a fashion designer.
With modest investments EDWON is good at removing tiny, but insurmountable obstacles for marginalized women and girls.
From May 24-30 the EDWON team, with our partners Nidan and Marie Stopes International—Nepal, hosted two Reproductive Health Workshops, for two days each, in Baglung and Arghakhanchi. 27 community health workers and Women’s Group leaders in Baglung (pop. 29,000) and 19 in Arghakhanchi (pop. 3,000) eagerly attended.
The women were not disappointed as they gained life-changing knowledge on topics ranging from how to have healthy pregnancies and deliveries to basic neonatal care and the risks of early-age marriage to the fundamentals of family-planning. And the trainers taught the material with a sensitivity to what the women most wanted to learn and how they would best learn it, modifying their lesson based on participant feedback and an assessment of their level of knowledge as well as using visual aids and simple language.
Particularly in the community of Arghakhanchi, Kamal Pariyar, our project manager in Nepal, reported that “The women were very forthcoming in sharing their experiences, something that had not happened in earlier trainings. The team was able to create the environment to allow them to open up and talk about things they would normally consider embarrassing or taboo.”
Furthermore, Kamal stated that “Participants from both groups were so happy with this training and they shared that they will apply the learning they obtained from the training in their life as well as share the ideas and knowledge with their Women’s Groups, relatives, friends, and communities.”
Approximately 245 more women are expected to benefit from the 46 attendees’ new knowledge adding to the growing community of women empowered by our team. EDWON, along with its partners, hopes to build a community of women in remote regions of Nepal who, thanks to their increased understanding of reproductive and sexual health, have gained control of family planning decisions while having healthier babies and living healthier lives.